Statute-Based Protections for Research Participant Confidentiality: Implications of the US Experience for Canada
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 November 2018
Many types of vital research require protection of communication and information provided confidentially by research participants. In Canada, apart from information collected under the Statistics Act, the only option is a common law balancing test that creates uncertainty insofar as law is made after the fact. This paper explores the option of statute-based protection from the outset. It examines two such protections that have been in place in the United States for decades—revealing their strengths and weaknesses and how they may be applied in the Canadian context.
De nombreux types de recherches essentiels nécessitent la protection des communications et des renseignements fournis de manière confidentielle par les participants à la recherche. Au Canada, hormis l’information recueillie en vertu de la Loi sur la statistique, la seule option est un test d’équilibre fondé sur la common law et qui crée une incertitude dans la mesure où la loi se constitue a posteriori. Cet article explore l’option d’une protection fondée en loi dès le départ. Il examine deux de ces protections qui existent aux États-Unis depuis des décennies – révélant leurs forces et leurs faiblesses et la manière dont elles peuvent être appliquées dans le contexte canadien.
- Canadian Journal of Law and Society / La Revue Canadienne Droit et Société , Volume 33 , Issue 3 , December 2018 , pp. 381 - 400
- Copyright © Canadian Law and Society Association / Association Canadienne Droit et Société 2018
1 Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (Government of Canada, 2014). <http://www.pre.ethics.gc.ca/pdf/eng/tcps2-2014/TCPS_2_FINAL_Web.pdf>
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5 Statistics Canada researchers and their participants are protected through a statute-based privilege outlined in the Statistics Act. See especially section 18 at <http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/S-19/FullText.html>
6 See R. v. Gruenke,  3 S.C.R. 263.
7 M. (A.) v. Ryan,  1 S.C.R. 157.
8 R. v. Gruenke,  3 S.C.R. 263
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36 Cheryl Crawford Watson, JD, has been that one person at NIJ for well over a decade. We thank her for helping us better understand Privacy Certificates and how they are implemented.
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70 28 CFR Part 22.20(c) states, “The regulations do not apply to information gained regarding future criminal conduct.” See <https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/28/22.20>.
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79 Ibid, at para. 44.
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91 CIHR et al., TCPS, supra note 1.